Key social media trends for 2018

Social media is quickly evolving and with millions of people sharing their stories on platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp everyday, it’s more important than ever to keep up with the trends.

To help marketers stay on top of the most noteworthy changes, Buffer blogger Alfred Lua put together a comprehensive social media trends report and offers his readers a few key insights:

Social messaging: Social messaging finally overtook social media, which had nearly 2.5 billion users worldwide in 2017. It’s part of a transformational shift, where users are moving on from the traditional social apps to focus more on products like WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber.

Messaging & business: Consumers have made the shift from communicating with businesses through their phone/email/social media to doing it (more often) through social messaging. It’s a good thing too, as it helps businesses connect with their customers “more than ever,” says Lua. In fact, 56 per cent of people prefer to send a message to customer service rather than call a business to reach them. More than 50 per cent also prefer shopping with businesses they can message, and 61 per cent enjoy receiving personalized messages from a company.

Chatbots: This technology is growing faster than many could have imagined — with chatbots appearing in WeChat, iMessage, and many other platforms. And 80 per cent of senior marketing and sales executives around the globe are using the technology for their business or will be doing so by 2020, says Lua. He adds that “Juniper Research estimated that chatbots will help businesses save up to $8 billion every year by 2022.”

As for other key insights, Lua says businesses can no longer ignore social customer service as this can lead to “dire repercussions” — such as consumers going to competitors. He also says that organic reach and referral traffic is decreasing, and video is still popular.